The Pechanga coalition that is holding up online poker legislation from passing in California issued its list of demands to cease opposition.
In a letter to bill author Assemblyman Adam Gray, the coalition asked for PokerStars to receive a 10-year ban from offering online poker in the state, after which it would be required to pay a $60 million fine prior to being deemed suitable for a license.
In other words, it wants the arm and the leg. All of that would only remove its opposition to the bill, not yet gain its support.
The coalition includes seven tribal interests: the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Agua Caliente Band of Chuilla Indians, Barona Band of Mission Indians, Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, Table Mountain Rancheria, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. Current language is supported by a group of six tribes, 15 card rooms, and almost the entirety of the horse racing industry.
"Essentially, all of the primary purposes of your measure will be maintained with our amendments," the letter asserted. "The sole change will be that those who operated illegally in the past will face clear consequences for those actions."
What the coalition sees as operating illegally, others see as operating during a gray period prior to December of 2011 when online poker was not specifically illegal, nor was it authorized, on the federal or state levels.
As stands, the bill's suitability standards would allow such sites to wait five years to be licensed or pay a $20 million fine.
PokerStars, the most popular online poker site in the world, has a partnership with the San Manuel and Morongo bands of Mission Indians, Commerce Casino, Hawaiian Gardens, and the Bicycle Club.
The letter at least establishes suitability terms that would be acceptable to the coalition, though it doesn't raise hopes that the side is interested in negotiating. Consistent with its hostile attitude at the state capitol over the past month, the coalition ends the letter on a threatening note.
"Not all members of the coalition are moved to compromise and depart from the longstanding principle of disqualifying offshore websites and assets that took illegal bets," the letter stated." Accordingly, if these proposed amendments are rejected, we anticipate some will seek what they believe to be more appropriate protections for Californians — a ban on 'bad actors' and 'tainted assets' in the internet poker industry."
*Image courtesy of Asif Akbar/FreeImages.com.